Makin' Friends: A New Friend for Marmalade by Alison Reynolds
ELLY, MADDY, AND MARMALADE WERE BEST FRIENDS.JOINED THEM.
ONE MORNING THEY DECIDED TO BUILD A PLAYHOUSE.
TOBY, THE BOY FROM ACROSS THE ROAD,
Girly girls Elly and Maddy think it's a great day to build an outdoor playhouse, as Marmalade the Cat basks in the sun and looks on with interest. But just as the girls' design begins to take shape, there's a sudden interruption.
Their neighbor Toby, wearing his superhero cape, speeds through the playhouse on his scooter and wreaks some havoc on their plans, and then zooms off, red cape waving behind him.
Miffed, the girls regroup and decide to move to the sandbox, where they methodically begin to sculpt an equally ambitious sand castle city.
Obviously, Toby wants to play with the girls, but he has a lot to learn about charming les femmes. He falls back on that old masculine standby, silently showing off his athletic ability. Elly and Maddy don't seem at all impressed, but Elly's cat Marmalade seems to see some promise in Toby and rubs up against his legs.
Trying to get in on the game, Toby offers to make a moat around the castles, but when he turns on the hose, he doesn't notice that there's a lawn sprinkler still attached to the other end. Suddenly the sand castle city is deluged with geysers of water. The girls are wet and bedraggled, the castles are history, and a very wet and spooked Marmalade leaps into a nearby tree and scoots way up. Too far up, it seems, for him to come back down, even when the girls implore him. He creeps further and further out on a skinny branch.
MARMALADE LET OUT A SCARED "MEOW!"
Can action hero Toby save the day? There's more than one way to make use of that cape, and Toby wins the girls over with his gallant kitty rescue, in Alison Reynolds sequel to her first book, A Year with Marmalade. It turns out that Marmalade sees through Toby's rough exterior to the potential friend inside, in A New Friend for Marmalade (Little Simon, 2014). Artist Heath McKenzie shows the girls in light-handed pen-and-ink drawings, while adding emphasis to the story's stars by adding watercolors to Marmalade and Toby's cape. Soon even Marmalade is sporting a cape, and the three kids get back to work on a new and improved sand castle city. A fun story for cat fanciers, with a small lesson on accommodating to the different styles of play among friends.